Chandigarh: Amidst the multi-cornered contest in Punjab, early leads on Thursday indicated the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is heading to a landslide maiden victory in the state, trailing the traditional parties — Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
Prominent faces who were trailing in the first two hours of counting of ballots included five-time former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal from his bastion Lambi; Congress chief ministerial candidate and incumbent Charanjit Singh Channi on both seats — Chamkaur Sahib, a reserved seat that he has won three consecutive times, and Bhadaur in Barnala district; and Congress state unit chief Navjot Sidhu from Amritsar (East), the seat that came into being after 2012 delimitation and has backed Sidhu and his namesake wife — Navjot Kaur.
Congress rebel Capt Amarinder Singh, whose fledgling Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) is contesting the polls in alliance with the BJP and SAD (Sanyukt), is trailing from his ‘royal’ bastion Patiala (Urban).
AAP’s chief ministerial face and sitting MP Bhagwant Mann is leading from Dhuri, the seat from where he’s trying luck for the first time.
Sanyukt Samaj Morcha chief and its chief ministerial face Balbir Singh Rajewal is also trailing in Samrala. AAP’s first-timer Jagtar Singh is leading on that seat.
Counting for the 117 Assembly constituencies started at 8 a.m. Postal ballots were counted first.
A three-tier security system has been put in place.
The polls for the 117 Assembly constituencies were held on February 20 and a total 1,54,69,618 voters exercised their right to franchise.
The election results can be obtained from the official website of CEO Punjab — ceopunjab.gov.in or results.eci.gov.in. Also, results can also be obtained from voter helpline mobile application.
As per exit polls, the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP is emerging as a major contender, while the Congress is struggling hard to retain power.
In the 2017 elections, the Congress had won an absolute majority by winning 77 seats in the 117-member assembly and ousted the SAD-BJP government after 10 years.
The AAP had emerged as the second-largest party, winning 20 seats.
SAD won 15 seats, while the BJP, which had a coalition government with the Akali Dal in Punjab from 2007 to 2017, secured three seats.